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08/11/2012

Leveling and contouring


A. Arko-Adjei
Department of Geomatic Engineering
KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
arkoadjei@hotmail.com
November 2012

Course content
Unit 1: Introduction to surveying
Unit 2: Chain surveying
Unit 3: Measurement of directions and angles
Unit 4: Traversing
Unit 5: Levelling and contouring
Unit 6: Methods of measuring areas
Unit 7: Introduction to GPS technology

08/11/2012

Learning outcomes

After reading this unit you should be able to:

Describe the levelling procedures

Distinguish between the various level instruments

Explain the terminologies used in levelling

Describe the field observation procedures of levelling

Reduce levels and test the accuracy of levels.

Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the rise and fall


methods of reducing levels

Describe the various ways of using contours

Unit overview

This lecture will cover:

What is levelling

Purposes of levelling

Equipment and procedures

Terminology in leveling

Reading a staff

Collimation error

Two-peg test

Booking and reduction

Adjustment

Errors

Applications
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What is levelling?

A measurement process whereby the difference in


height between two or more points can be
determined

BS

FS

Difference in height
H=BS-FS

When do we level?

Typical examples include :

To establish new vertical control (BM or TBM)

To determine the heights of discrete points

To provide spot heights or contours on a plan

To provide data for road cross-sections or volumes of


earthworks

To provide a level or inclined plane in the setting out of


construction works

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Levelling equipment

Level

Tripod

Staff

Change plate

Staff bubble

50 m tape measure (sometimes)

Terminology in levelling

Level surface

A surface over which water will not flow

The direction of gravity is always normal to a level surface

Horizontal surface

A horizontal surface will be tangent to a level surface

Over short distances (<100 m) the horizontal surface and the


level surface will coincide

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Terminology in levelling

direction of gravity

horizontal
surface

level surface

limit of practical
coincidence (~100 m)

Terminology in levelling

Datum

A reference surface to which the heights of all points in a


survey or on a site are referred

May be arbitrary or a national height datum

In Ghana we have the Ghana Height Datum (GHD)

The surface which defines the GHD is (approximately) Mean


Sea Level (MSL)

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Terminology in levelling

Reduced Level (RL)

The height of a point above the datum

Benchmark (BM)

A stable reference point of known RL

Usually used as the starting and finishing point when levelling

Temporary Bench Mark (TBM)

A point placed (e.g. peg, nail, spike) to provide a temporary


reference point

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Terminology in levelling

Backsight (BS)

Foresight (FS)

Always the first reading from a new instrument station

Always the last reading from the current instrument station

Intermediate sight (IS)

Any sighting that is not a backsight or foresight

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Terminology in levelling

Height of the instrument

It is the reduced level (R.L.) of the plane of sight when the


levelling instrument is correctly levelled.

It is also called the "height of the plane of the collimation" or


the collimation.

The line of collimation will revolve in a horizontal plane known


as plane of collimation or the plane of sight.

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Terminology in levelling

Change point (CP)

Location of the staff when the level is moved

Change points should be...

Stable
Well defined
Recoverable
e.g. sharp rock, nail, change plate, etc...

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Types of level instruments

There are three types of levels:

Dumpy level

Tilting level

Automatic level

The differences between the three types of levels are the


way in which the instruments are designed to be adjusted
to give a horizontal line.

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Dumpy level

Telescope is rigidly attached to a horizontal bar that


houses the level tube.

Spindle revolves in the socket of a levelling head controlled


in position by four levelling screws.

The levelling head is screwed to a tripod.

Ball-and-socket joint, which permits a flexible connection


between the instrument proper and the foot plate.

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Dumpy level

The line of sight of the instrument is the line fixed by the


intersection of the cross-wires and the centre of the
objective lens.

When the instrument is in proper adjustment, the line of


sight is parallel to the axis of the level tube.

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Tilting level

Has a telescope that can be tilted about a horizontal axis.

This design enables the operator to quickly and accurately


centre the bubble and thus bring the line of sight into a
horizontal plane.

A tilting screw is provided to raise or lower the eyepiece


end of the telescope.

When the bubble is off-centred, a split image of the two


ends of the bubble is seen through the viewing microscope.

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Tilting level

When the bubble is well centred, the two images coincide


to form a continuous U-shaped curve.

This arrangement permits the accurate centring of the


bubble from the normal observing position of the
operator.

Once coincidence is achieved, the line of sight should be in


a horizontal position.

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Automatic level

The distinctive feature of this type of level is an internal


compensator that automatically makes horizontal the line of
sight and maintains it in that position through the
application of the force of gravity.

As soon as the instrument is levelled by means of a circular


bubble, the movable component of the compensator swings
free to a position that makes the line of sight horizontal.

For the best performance of the compensator, it is always


essential to accurately centre the circular bubble and to
maintain it in good adjustment.

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Automatic level

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Accessories of level instrument

Tripod

Levelling staff
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Reading an E-face staff

0.339
0.33
0.3

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Principles of levelling

The levelling procedure involves:

Observation procedures

Booking procedures

Reduction procedures

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Levelling procedures

First reading (B.S), is taken on the established benchmark BM

Place levelling staff on benchmark

Set up the level anywhere in-between the benchmark and


the change point TP1 such that the two are visible (not
necessarily in the same line).

Tak staff reading at BM

Instrument remains in its position, move staff to TP1

Turn instrument to read fore sight (F.S.) at TP1

TP1 is the change point

The process of taking B.S and F.S. reading is repeated till the
point BM Oak is reached.

Enter last station reading in the fore sight.


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Levelling procedures

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08/11/2012

Principles of levelling

Rules for levelling

Always commence and finish a level run on a Benchmark (BM


or TBM)

Keep foresight and backsight distances as equal as possible

Keep lines of sight short (normally < 50m)

Never read below 0.5m on a staff (refraction)

Use stable, well defined change points

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A sample loop
Setup 4
CP 3

BM A

Kerb
Setup 1

Setup 3

Kerb
Setup 2

CP 1
CP 2
Post
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08/11/2012

Booking the observations

CP 3

BM A

Back

Inter

Fore

1.32

Point
BM A

3.98

Kerb

CP 1

Setup 1
Kerb

CP 1
CP 2
Post
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Booking the observations

CP 3

BM A

Back

Inter

Fore

1.32
2.56

Kerb
Setup 1
Kerb

Point
BM A

3.98

CP 1

1.25

Kerb

3.65

Post
0.67

CP 2

Setup 2

CP 1
CP 2
Post
30

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Booking the observations

CP 3

BM A

Back

Inter

Fore

1.32
2.56
Kerb
Setup 1

Setup 3
Kerb

3.98

CP 1

1.25

Kerb

3.65

Post
0.67

3.49
Setup 2

Point
BM A

CP 2
Kerb

2.58
1.54

CP 3

CP 1
CP 2
Post
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Booking the observations


Setup 4
CP 3

BM A

Back

Inter

Fore

1.32

Setup 1

BM A

2.56

Kerb
Setup 3
Kerb

3.98

Kerb

3.65

Post
0.67

2.58

2.64
CP 1

CP 1

1.25
3.49

Setup 2

Point

CP 2
Kerb

1.54

CP 3

3.79

BM A

CP 2
Post
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Reducing levels (Rise and Fall)


Back

Inter

Fore

Rise

Fall

1.32

RL
50.00

2.56

3.98

Comment
BM A
CP 1

1.25

Kerb

3.65

Post

3.49

0.67

CP 2

2.58
2.64

Kerb
1.54

CP 3

3.79

BM A

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Reducing levels (Rise and Fall)


Back

Inter

Fore

Rise

Fall

1.32
2.56

BM A

47.34

CP 1

48.65

Kerb

46.25

Post

2.98

49.23

CP 2

0.91

50.14

Kerb

1.04

51.18

CP 3

50.03

BM A

2.66
1.31

3.65
3.49

2.40
0.67

2.58
2.64

1.54
3.79

10.01

9.98
(0.03)

Comment

50.00
3.98
1.25

RL

1.15
6.24

6.21
(0.03)

(0.03)

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Reducing levels (Height of collimation)


Back

Inter

Fore

Height of
Collimation

RL

51.32

50.00

BM A

49.90

47.34

CP 1

1.25

48.65

Kerb

3.65

46.25

Post

49.23

CP 2

50.14

Kerb

51.18

CP 3

50.03

BM A

1.32
2.56

3.98

3.49

0.67

52.72

2.58
2.64

1.54
3.79

10.01

53.82

9.98
(0.03)

Comment

(0.03)

Height of Collimation = RL + BS

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Loop misclosure

Misclosure

The amount by which the measured height difference


(Hmeas) differs from the known height difference derived
from the RLs of the starting and finishing benchmarks
(Hknown)
Misclosure = Hknown - Hmeas

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An acceptable misclose?

Small misclosures in closed level loops are expected


because of the accumulation of errors

If the misclosure is small, it can be adjusted

If the misclosure is large, the loop (or part of it) must be


repeated

Misclosures can also result from errors in published BM


levels and from BM instability

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Testing the misclose

The amount of misclosure we are prepared to accept


depends on the accuracy we are hoping to achieve

For routine levelling, the third order levelling standard is


adopted
misclosure 12k mm
where k is the length of the loop in km
misclosure 5n mm

where n is the number of instrument set up

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Testing misclose - continuing the example

The misclosure is +30 mm

The length of the loop is 0.7 km

The misclosure limit is


12(0.7) = 10 mm

The misclosure of +30 mm is too big

The loop must be repeated (or find the error)

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Adjusting the misclose

Adjustment is carried out to ensure that the measured and


known RLs of the closing benchmark agree

The misclosure is linearly distributed according to the


number of set-ups

The adjustment per set-up for the previous example is


(0.03/4)...

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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

50.00

BM A

47.34

CP 1

48.65

Kerb

46.25

Post

49.23

CP 2

50.14

Kerb

51.18

CP 3

50.03

BM A

Adjusted RL

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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

Adjusted RL

50.00

BM A

0.000

50.000

47.34

CP 1

0.008

47.332

48.65

Kerb

46.25

Post

49.23

CP 2

50.14

Kerb

51.18

CP 3

50.03

BM A

=1*(0.03/4)

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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

Adjusted RL

50.00

BM A

0.000

50.000

47.34

CP 1

0.008

47.332

48.65

Kerb

0.015

48.635

46.25

Post

0.015

46.235

49.23

CP 2

0.015

49.215

50.14

Kerb

51.18

CP 3

50.03

BM A

=2*(0.03/4)

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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

Adjusted RL

50.00

BM A

0.000

50.000

47.34

CP 1

0.008

47.332

48.65

Kerb

0.015

48.635

46.25

Post

0.015

46.235

49.23

CP 2

0.015

49.215

50.14

Kerb

0.023

50.117

51.18

CP 3

0.023

51.157

50.03

BM A

=3*(0.03/4)
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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

Adjusted RL

50.00

BM A

0.000

50.000

47.34

CP 1

-0.008

47.332

48.65

Kerb

-0.015

48.635

46.25

Post

-0.015

46.235

49.23

CP 2

-0.015

49.215

50.14

Kerb

-0.023

51.18

CP 3

-0.023

50.03

BM A

-0.030

=4*(0.03/4)
50.000
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Adjusting the misclose


Measured RL

Point

Adjustment

Adjusted RL

50.00

BM A

0.000

50.000

47.34

CP 1

-0.008

47.332

48.65

Kerb

-0.015

48.635

46.25

Post

-0.015

46.235

49.23

CP 2

-0.015

49.215

50.14

Kerb

-0.023

50.117

51.18

CP 3

-0.023

51.157

50.03

BM A

-0.030

50.000

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08/11/2012

Other form of leveling

Trigonometric leveling

The difference in elevation between two points can also be


determined by measuring

the inclined or horizontal distance between them.

the zenith angle of the vertical angle to one point from the other

Zenith angles are measured downward from vertical

Vertical angles are measured up or down from horizontal

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Trigonometric leveling
S = slope distance
z = zenith angle
=vertical angle
V = elevation difference
V = S . cos z
V = S . sin
V = H . cot z
V = H . tan
elev = hi + V + r
hi = height of instrument
r = reading on the road
H = horizontal distance

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Errors in levelling

Collimation

Parallax

Change point instability

Instrument instability

Staff instability

Benchmark instability

Refraction

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Errors in levelling

Staff reading and interpolation errors

Staff verticality

Instrument shading

Temperature on staff

Booking errors (e.g. using just 1 benchmark)

Earth curvature

Magnetic field effects on auto level

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Collimation error

Occurs when the line of sight (as defined by the cross-hairs)


is not horizontal

Leads to an incorrect staff reading

error
horizontal line

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Two-peg test

Identifies whether the level has a collimation error

Allows the collimation error to be determined

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Applications of levelling

Point heights (relative to a datum)

Height differences (independent of datum)

Longitudinal sections and cross sections

Data for volume calculations

Contouring

Setting out

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Establishing a new point


New point

Benchmark

RLNEW

RLBM
Datum

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Measuring height differences

DH3
DH2
Benchmark

DH1

RLBM
Datum

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Profiles and cross-sections

Benchmark
RLBM
Datum

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Plotting contours
2.510

2.905

The RLs for points A, B and C have been


determined by levelling. We are now
required to determine the location of the
contours using a 0.5 m contour interval.

1.100

A
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Plotting contours
2.510

LINE AB
HAB = 2.51 - 1.10 = 1.410
DAB = 10 m
For the 1.5 m contour:
D = 10*(1.5 1.1)/1.41 = 2.84
For the 2.0 m contour :
D = 10*(2.0 - 1.1)/1.41 = 6.38

For the 2.5 m contour :


D = 10*(2.5 - 1.1)/1.41 = 9.93
1.4

0.9
A
1.100

0.4
2.84

1.41

9.93

6.38
10 m

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Plotting contours
2.510

2.905

LINE AC
HAC = 2.905 - 1.100 = 1.805
DAC = 14.14 m
For the 1.5 m contour :
D = 14.14*(1.5 - 1.1)/1.805 = 3.13
For the 2.0 m contour :
D = 14.14*(2.0 - 1.1)/1.805 = 7.05
1.100

For the 2.5 m contour :


D = 14.14*(2.5 - 1.1)/1.805 = 10.97
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Plotting contours
2.510

2.905

LINE BC
DHBC = 2.905 - 2.510 = 0.395
DBC = 10 m
no contours cross this line
1.100

A
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Plotting contours
2.510

1.100

2.905

A
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